Sands himself has done what he calls some “very part time” business as a lobbyist, representing a wastewater business in Palm Beach County. If elected, his priorities include boosting classroom funding and closing the “digital divide” between poor and more-affluent students.
Korn argues that her deep familiarity with the district — as a graduate of Western High School, a teacher at the same school, and now the mother of three children in district schools — distinguishes her from her opponent. If elected to another term, Korn says her priorities will include eliminating waste from the district’s budget, making it easier for community groups to donate items to local schools, and giving teachers more flexibility to be creative in the classroom.
“We have a whole new dynamic on the board,” Korn said. “There’s definitely momentum to move forward in a positive direction.”
DISTRICT 5 - Central Broward
The race between Torey Alston and Rosalind Osgood has turned harshly personal — even though both candidates attend the same church.
Osgood, a minister at New Mount Olive Baptist Church, says she was taken aback when a group of Alston supporters sent out a campaign ad calling the minister a “former prostitute” and showing a doctored photo of Osgood behind bars.
More than 20 years ago, Osgood struggled with drug addiction, and throughout the campaign she has readily acknowledged two prior cocaine possession convictions. But Osgood has no criminal record for prostitution, and she said the smear tactics were not only inaccurate, they also missed the point of her life story: It’s about redemption.
“If my life can be transformed, then we can save every kid and every parent in District 5,” said Osgood, who now holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate. “This is the message of hope.”
Alston denies any connection with the “prostitute” mailer. Alston, a chief of staff to Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, said it’s usually another minister at Mount Olive — not Osgood — who delivers the sermons, and he has no plans to change churches.
“I will continue to go to church, continue to worship, and listen to my pastor,” Alston said. “That won’t cease, regardless of the campaign.”
If elected, Alston wants to boost vocational training in high schools, prioritize science and math teaching, and steer more district contracts to small and minority-owned businesses. Osgood’s priorities include scrutinizing the district’s budget, partnering with local universities to boost student achievement, and boosting community involvement in the schools. Alston has raised more than $61,000 in contributions, while Osgood has nearly $41,000 in contributions.
DISTRICT 4 - Northwest Broward
Voters in this district will choose between office manager and former teacher Abby Freedman and attorney Rochelle “Shelly” Solomon. Freedman’s campaign stands apart from all others in that it is entirely self-funded: She’s invested more than $65,000, a strategy she says is designed to reduce the influence of special interests if she is elected.
“I’m not beholden to anybody,” Freedman said.
Solomon has accepted contributions and also donated to her own campaign, together raising more than $71,000. She says outside contributions won’t affect her actions as a School Board member. Solomon argues that her time spent on various school district advisory boards — and spearheading the district’s anti-bullying efforts — makes her the better-prepared candidate.
“You can’t buy experience,” Solomon said. “You have to earn experience.”
Freedman complains the campaign has taken a negative turn, with her spotty voting history being criticized (she says she skipped the 2010 election because her father was on his deathbed). Another issue that’s popped up: Freedman hired homeless workers from a Hollywood shelter to work the polls on Election Day. Freedman says the $100-a-day jobs were an act of charity, and the shelter’s director said it has provided workers to various campaigns over the years.
Though Solomon has spent more time on district boards, Freedman argues she is better equipped to deal with finances. She points to Solomon paying an outside company more than $100 to reconcile her campaign bank account.
“My kid can reconcile her account, you can’t reconcile your own account?” Freedman said.
Solomon, meanwhile, says Freedman’s voting record is “very relevant.” If elected, Solomon plans to focus on budgetary issues and raising performance expectations. Freedman’s priorities include boosting teacher pay and making sure teachers have all the essential supplies they need in the classroom.